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Does excess of vitamins cause disease?


Excess of some vitamins can cause disease.

The water soluble vitamins are generally safe, even when taken in excess. This is because the excess water-soluble vitamins are easily excreted in urine. The water soluble vitamins are vitamin B group (B1 through B12) and vitamin C. Excess of vitamin C can interfere with other metabolic processes in body.

The fat soluble vitamins can't be easily excreted in urine. Thus, when taken in excess amounts over prolonged periods, they have a tendency to get deposited in body organs, thus leading to dysfunction.

The following table gives a hint at the diseases caused by excess of vitamins:

Synopsis of Vitamin toxicities
Vitamin Toxicity
Vitamin A Hypervitaminosis A (nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, sleep disorders, skin desquamation, enlarged liver, internal eye swelling). Deformities in unborn child when taken by pregnant women
Vitamin B group Usually safe
Vitamin C Usually safe. Diarrhea and kidney stones on prolonged excess.
Vitamin D Can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, thirst, drowsiness, heart rhythm abnormalities, kidney failure, coma and even death. Narrow margin between nutrient req. and toxicity.
Vitamin E None
Vitamin K Usually safe

For detailed discussion, please refer to each vitamin individually.

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This page last updated on:
October 15, 2003